While employees love BYOD and having just one familiar device to manage their work and personal lives, IT departments must adapt their systems management strategy to keep up with the changing nature of these and other new devices to reduce the potential for data breaches.\n\n\nSmartphones and tablets typically have different capabilities, operating systems and management interfaces than PCs and laptops. This\u2014along with the addition of the assortment of new smart devices, sensors and objects connecting to networks\u2014has created a completely different management landscape, one that we\u2019ve started referring to as \u201cany point systems management.\u201d The challenge is that as all these \u201cpoints\u201d continue to increase the amount of data moving across the network, IT departments relying on multiple, isolated systems management solutions\u2014network, firewalls, traditional endpoints, mobile devices, smart devices, etc.\u2014won\u2019t be able to identify all the potential threats, let alone prevent them.\n\n\nAs you assess the capabilities needed to overcome the challenges, these four best practices should inform your decisions.\n\n\n 1. Insist on centralized, consolidated visibility\n\n\nYou need a complete understanding of what\u2019s on your network, how each device is configured and how it interacts with your environment. This information must be available through a single console to enable effective correlation and ensure timely alerting.\n\n\n 2. Create a plan and develop policies\n\n\nUse your visibility to inform your policies. For example, if you discover that nearly all users have either Apple or Android devices, your organization can decide on the appropriate policy: support only those two types of devices or remain open to other possible phones and tablets. Or perhaps you detect that the latest release of an OS you support is causing problems for the network. Then can create a policy that users can\u2019t upgrade to the new OS until the vendor fixes the problem. Ensure your policies account for what business users really need for their jobs. Frustrated users do whatever they can to circumvent overly restrictive policies.\n\n\n 3. Deploy technology to enforce the policies\n\n\nIf you have disallowed an OS, automatically prevent devices with that OS from accessing the network. If a device has an old version of virus software, you should be able to automatically update the application. As the number of devices continues to skyrocket, you can\u2019t rely on manual processes. Your staff will never scale along with BYOD and the Internet of Things!\n\n\n 4. Keep employees informed\n\n\nWith BYOD\u2014even with strong policy enforcement capabilities\u2014you rely on employees to do the right thing. Making it easier for them to do the right thing by having fair and sensible policies and easy-to-use, self-service capabilities (e.g., to update virus software and device drivers) is key, as is education on the dangers to employee devices, data and the organization of doing the wrong thing.\n\n\nTechnologies from multiple vendors exist to help implement these best practices, and the time to enhance your \u201cany point systems management\u201d capabilities is now\u2014before diversity and complexity lead to major and exploitable security gaps.